ANAHEIM -- Even as they watched their offense slip into a team-wide slump, the Angels could at least take some solace in the impressive turnaround of their starting rotation, which entered Friday with a 1.90 ERA in May, the second-best mark in the American League.The Angels' offensive woes continued on
ANAHEIM -- Even as they watched their offense slip into a team-wide slump, the Angels could at least take some solace in the impressive turnaround of their starting rotation, which entered Friday with a 1.90 ERA in May, the second-best mark in the American League.
The Angels' offensive woes continued on Friday, but their sterling starting pitching did not, culminating in an 8-3 loss to the Rays at Angel Stadium that extended the club's losing streak to four games. Right-hander Nick Tropeano couldn't get past the third inning, allowing four runs on six hits -- including two home runs -- and needed 72 pitches to record eight outs.
Tropeano departed with the Angels trailing, 4-0, a deficit too great for their cold bats to overcome. Andrelton Simmons supplied a two-run single off left-hander Blake Snell in the fifth, and Michael Trout snapped a career-worst 0-for-21 drought with a solo home run off Chaz Roe in the eighth, but the rest of the Angels' lineup endured yet another quiet night at the plate.
The Angels are now batting a meager .213 (62-for-291) this homestand and have been limited to a total of 11 runs over their last six games. Zack Cozart (5-for-33), Jose Pujols (6-for-30) and Trout (2-for-25) are among the Angels who have fallen into a recent lull. Justin Upton, one of the club's hottest hitters this month, sat out Friday's game after being struck on the left hand on Thursday, and Ian Kinsler (.205) and Kole Calhoun (.163) also received days off.
"We have some signs that guys are swinging the bats a little bit better," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think that's going to be what's important. There's a long way to go. Hopefully, as these guys get settled, we're going to get the continuity we need in our lineup. We have a lot of confidence in what we're going to do in the batter's box, and right now, it's been a little bit hit or miss."
The loss dropped the Angels 3.5 games behind the first-place Astros in the American League West, the largest gap they've faced this season.
Daniel Robertson homered in the second inning to put the Rays on the board, and they added three more runs in the third to chase Tropeano from the game. After C.J. Cron reached on a one-out walk, Tropeano struck out Joey Wendle swinging before surrendering a two-run shot to Wilson Ramos. Trout leapt at the center-field wall and nearly robbed Ramos, but the ball hit off the tip of his glove and went out for a homer.
Tropeano couldn't stop the bleeding after that, yielding three consecutive two-out hits, including an RBI single to Mallex Smith. He was pulled after walking Christian Arroyo to load the bases, marking his shortest outing of the season.
"I think it was just me not being able to execute pitches when I had to," Tropeano said. "I was ahead of both those guys I gave up home runs to. Just about me putting guys away. I felt like my slider wasn't really there today, and when it was, it was up in the zone. That's something that you just have to work on in the bullpens. Other than that, I felt good physically. It's just one of those things where you have to minimize damage. That's kind of been hurting me in the games that I've been losing -- that big inning."
The Angels received leadoff doubles from Shohei Ohtani and Michael Hermosillo in the second and third innings, but Snell retired the next three batters both times to avoid damage. The double was the first career hit for Hermosillo, who was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake before the game and made his MLB debut in right field on Friday.
"It was definitely awesome to get that out of the way," Hermosillo said.
Ramos homered for the second time off Cam Bedrosian in a two-run fifth, and the Rays scored again in the seventh on a defensive blunder by Gold Glove catcher Martin Maldonado. After Arroyo tripled with one out, Maldonado slipped while attempting to field a squeeze bunt from Johnny Field, allowing Arroyo to score and extend the Rays' lead to 7-2.
It was that kind of night for the Angels.
Simmons' fifth-inning single extended his on-base streak to 25 games. He has hit .370 (33-for-89) over that span.
Left-hander Andrew Heaney (2-2, 3.93 ERA) will start opposite Rays right-hander Sergio Romo (1-0, 4.96 ERA) on Saturday at 6:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Heaney has recorded a 1.80 ERA over his last four outings and delivered his best start of the season on Monday, when he struck out 10 and allowed one run over a career-high eight innings against the Astros. Saturday will mark Heaney's first career start against the Rays.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.